Does your home always feel stuffy? Are there rooms that have inexplicably higher temperatures than others? If so, it is possible that your ductwork is faulty and may need a repair or replacement. Leaky and clogged air ducts can impact your home’s comfort and raise your electricity bills. Here are some facts on air ducts and the telltale signs it is time for a replacement.
How Air Ducts Work
Your home’s air ducts act as the pathways that channel air into various rooms in your house. Your HVAC system supplies cool or warm air by pushing it through the ductwork.
There are two types of air ducts: supply and return. Every vented space will typically have both types to bring in the fresh air and dispel stale unconditioned air.
When the ductwork is free of debris and leaks, it works efficiently and provides adequate comfort. Otherwise, it can raise your home’s energy consumption.
Common Ductwork Problems
Your ductwork can develop problems during its lifetime. Some issues may arise during installation while others happen as part of the natural wear and tear.
The metal tubes that make up your ductwork need adequate insulation to prevent energy losses. The correct grade of insulation is essential, particularly where the ductwork is passing in unconditioned spaces.
The IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) recommends insulation with a minimum of R-8. For places like Nevada in Climate Cone 5 to 8, the most suitable grade is R-12.
Your ductwork’s insulation can become loose or break down. It could also be an issue that occurred during installation. You can test the insulation by lightly tapping the metal exterior. Sometimes the insulation is on the inside of your ductwork. When you tap the metal tube, the sound can give you an indication of the insulation’s condition.
Another sign of inadequate insulation is when your ductwork produces warm air when your first run the AC. If it is warm then cools down, it is an indication of an energy loss problem. Express Home Services ‘s team in Bountiful can provide quality ductwork services.
Leaks in the Ductwork
The ductwork in unconditioned spaces such as the attic often has a flexible material. Your ductwork may shift as air passes through it. With time, it can develop kinks or may sag. Eventually, it will tear, allowing air to escape.
Your ductwork can also succumb to leaks due to substandard installation or rodents chewing on its exterior. Preventive maintenance is the best way to avoid such issues. Certified technicians have the experience to spot sagging or kinking before it allows leaks.
Clogging and Airflow Complications
Clogging in your ductwork can block the flow of air and limit the performance of your HVAC system. Poor air circulation can cause indoor air quality concerns. Occupants may have flu-like symptoms like sneezing or coughing.
Airflow complications could also be due to an item blocking the registers. Examine the vents and ensure nothing is blocking them. If there are still signs of indoor air pollution, it may be time to consult a professional.
Incorrect Air Duct Sizing
The sizing of your home’s ductwork is as critical as your HVAC system. An undersized system will be subject to unnecessary stress after installation. The strain will speed up the deterioration of your air ducts, and it may develop cracks and tears.
The sizing of your ductwork is stipulated in local codes and regulations. The process of installation is usually more complicated than it appears. Technicians have to consider home square footage, friction losses, total length, and ductwork materials.
You can expect your ductwork to last between 10 and 15 years. If you have been experiencing ductwork problems, it is also possible it’s approaching the end of its lifetime.
In the winter, your ductwork will expand due to the heat from the furnace. In the summer, it can contract when exposed to cool air. The expansion and contraction can cause the tubes to sag or tear.
The metal tubes may also start to rust due to condensation in summer. High levels of humidity will cause rusting to take place at a faster rate. Over a decade, it could become faulty, compromising the performance of your heating and cooling system.
Signs You Need to Replace Your Air Ducts
If your ductwork is over a decade old, you may need to replace it. However, that depends on how you have been maintaining it. Other factors may also cut down the lifespan of your air ducts. If you notice the following symptoms, you need to start thinking about a replacement.
One of the symptoms of failing air ducts is an air filter that keeps getting dirty quickly. If your filter is filthy by the fourth week after replacing it, your ductwork may have faults. Leaks and weak joints may be introducing debris into the living space.
Your vents and registers will also accumulate dirt fast when your ductwork is faulty. After cleaning off dust and debris, examine the vents a few weeks later. If it has the same amount of dirt, a replacement may be the best solution.
Ductwork faults also mean the metal tubes cannot distribute air into parts of your home effectively. As a result, some rooms may be warmer than the rest of the house. On the other hand, there may be little to no air from the system. If there are no items blocking registers and vents, your ductwork is faulty.
You can tell if your air ducts have a pressure problem by closing all the doors and windows in your house. Turn on the HVAC system so that air is now running through the vents. Open interior doors slowly, one at a time.
If the doors open by themselves, there is a pressure issue within the air ducts. You can call Express Home Services‘s top-rated air duct team in Bountiful to troubleshoot your ductwork.
Who Should Repair Air Ducts?
The repair of your ductwork is a complicated process that only a professional should handle. Cleaning and sealing the metal tubes that carry conditioned air requires the right tools and expertise.
Technicians use tools such as vacuum pumps to prevent dirt and debris from getting into other parts of your system. The dimensions of your ductwork also have to be precise to ensure the optimal efficiency of the installation.
Inexperienced homeowners can damage the network of ducts if they attempt repairs. You can inadvertently create problems that may compromise your comfort and reduce the lifespan of your HVAC system.
At Express Home Services, we recommend scheduling an inspection of your ductwork at least once a year in Bountiful. Leaky ductwork can increase your utility bills and the frequency of repairs for your HVAC system.
If you have leaky ducts, you could be losing up to 40% of the energy your system consumes. Preventive ductwork maintenance is a wise investment for your home’s safety, comfort, and energy efficiency.
As a member of ACCA, we are committed to providing exceptional ductwork, furnace, and AC services. Since 2005, Express Home Services has been a dependable service for residents of Bountiful. We are Energy Star and NCI certified, and our NATE-certified technicians can handle projects of various scopes and sizes. You can rely on our highly skilled team to deliver outstanding craftsmanship. You can contact us today for quality solutions in Bountiful.